Anchorage Road is so named because it was laid out in the grounds of a big house called The Anchorage, which stood in Lichfield Road where the Fire Station is now. The Anchorage was probably built for John Riland, 1690-1765, son of the Rector of Sutton, who came to live in Sutton as a private gentleman. He needed a big house for his large family (he had nine children) and to sustain his status in the town - he was Warden in 1728.

Brabins Butler, who died aged 98 in 1822, was the next owner. Sarah Holbeche could just about remember him, with his coffee-coloured wig, describing him as a worthy limb of the law (he was a solicitor) but having a notorious reputation. She wrote that there were many odd stories about him, and “he had lent Captain Harding £100, and having some misgivings as to the security, rode from Sutton to Bath in one day, and finding all right, returned the third day”.

Brabins Butler had an only daughter, Susannah, who married Thomas Greatrex. The 1824 Corn Rent Schedule gives Susannah Greatrex as the owner/occupier of the Anchorage, and when she died in 1838 at the age of 80 her address was still the same. She was succeeded by her son, Charles Butler Greatrex; Sarah Holbeche again “November 1849 Mr. and Mrs. Greatrex, descendants of Brabins Butler, came to Sutton, and from association with nautical life, called their house The Anchorage”. (C.B.Greatrex appears on a list of Royal Marines on half pay in 1821).

The next occupier of the house was Matthew Wilson, who set up a boarding school there. There were fourteen boys aged between seven and fifteen to be accommodated, as well as Wilson’s wife and four children, an assistant master and four servants. Most of the boys were local, but in 1861 there were two from London, one from Jersey and one from the Isle of Man. Some of the boys stayed all the year round, as an entry in Miss Holbeche’s Diary shows; “A boy at Mr. Wilson’s shot himself in the thumb - amputated by Dr. Porter.” This accident does not seem to have affected the school, which had moved upmarket to Ashfurlong Hall by 1871.

The Anchorage and its estate were bought by Richard Sadler in 1870; he laid out the estate for residential development and let the house to Thomas Moxham, a maltster, who lived there with his wife, six children and two servants. Eliza Moxham was widowed by 1891, but continued to live at the Anchorage until 1916. After 1919 the house belonged to Robert Reay-Nadin, the town clerk of Sutton Coldfield, and his widow was still living there in 1939.

Sutton Corporation bought The Anchorage, which had been declared unfit for domestic use, and in 1941 built garages for the fire engines in the back garden, fronting Anchorage Road. The firemen were accommodated in The Anchorage. In 1959 a new fire station was built behind The Anchorage, and when it was complete the house and the temporary garages were demolished. The fire station was officially opened by Lord Jellicoe on October 31st 1963.

The Anchorage, Lichfield Road, demolished 1959 (photo - Norman Evans Collection)